Tuesday, November 24, 2009

TCM Celebrates Christmas, but Not on Christmas Day

Turner Classic Movies is arguably the best channel on television, especially if you are a classic film fan. Every Thursday, in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, the channel will be highlighting some classic holiday movie fare. Many of the films are not as well known as they should be, and others are annual staples in the Lindke household.

Cinerati-friend J.C. Loophole of The Shelf blog has been kind enough to share these Thursday schedules with us, as well as some comments regarding the upcoming TCM film festival in Los Angeles in April 2010 which will be showing a restoration of Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS.

One interesting twist to the schedule is that TCM is airing a Sherlock Holmes Marathon on Christmas Day that they have called, punny enough, "Holmes for the Holidays." While it makes a certain amount of sense from a market standpoint, the new Guy Ritchie Holmes film is coming out on Christmas Day, it doesn't strike me as particularly "Christmassy." The only Holmes story that makes me feel remotely in he holiday spirit is the wonderful YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES directed by Barry Levinson and written by Chris Columbus. YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES is one of those Lindke household holiday staples. Columbus' own HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE is also on that list of Lindke holiday must sees.

Let's have a look at what TCM is offering this holiday season.

Thursday, Dec. 3
  • 8 p.m. – A Christmas Carol (1938), starring Reginald Owen and Gene Lockhart.
  • 9:15 p.m. – Little Women (1949), starring June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor, Janet Leigh and Margaret O’Brien.
  • 11:30 p.m. – Tenth Avenue Angel (1948), starring Margaret O’Brien and Angela Lansbury.
  • 1 a.m. – 3 Godfathers (1948), starring John Wayne, Pedro Armind├íriz, Harry Carey Jr. and Ward Bond.
  • 3 a.m. – Hell’s Heroes (1930), starring Charles Bickford and Raymond Hatton.
  • 4:30 a.m. – Bush Christmas (1947), starring John Fernside and Chips Rafferty.

  • The John Ford/John Wayne version of 3 GODFATHERS is a masterful demonstration of how a genre film can use tropes from other narrative milieu to create a powerful film that is both touching and beautiful. Like many great films, this one is a remake of a story that had been filmed at least twice before. More recently, the story was adapted -- with significant changes -- into anime with TOKYO GODFATHERS. 3 GODFATHERS is one of Wayne's strongest performances, those performances that are so often overlooked when people want to scoff at Wayne's talent, and is the kind of Christmas film we need more of today.

    Thursday, Dec. 10
  • 8 p.m. – It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947), starring Don DeFore, Ann Harding and Gale Storm.
  • 10 p.m. – Fitzwilly (1967), starring Dick Van Dyke, Barbara Feldon and Edith Evans.
  • Midnight – Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938), starring Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Lewis Stone.
  • 2 a.m. – Susan Slept Here (1954), staring Dick Powell, Debbie Reynolds and Anne Francis.
  • 4 a.m. – Little Women (1933), starring Katharine Hepburn, Joan Bennett, Paul Lukas and Frances Dee.

  • Thursday, Dec. 17
  • 8 p.m. – Christmas in Connecticut (1945), starring Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan and Sydney Greenstreet.
  • 10 p.m. – Holiday Affair (1950), starring Robert Mitchum and Janet Leigh.
  • 11:30 p.m. – Never Say Goodbye (1946), starring Errol Flynn and Eleanor Parker.
  • 1:30 a.m. – Period of Adjustment (1962), starring Tony Franciosa, Jane Fonda and Jim Hutton.
  • 3:30 a.m. – Beyond Tomorrow (1940), starring Harry Carey, C. Aubrey Smith and Maria Ouspenskaya.

  • Thursday, Dec. 24 – Robert Osborne’s Christmas Picks
  • 8 p.m. – Remember the Night (1940), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray.
  • 9:45 p.m. – Christmas in July (1940), starring Dick Powell and Ellen Drew.
  • 11 p.m. – Chicken Every Sunday (1948), starring Dan Dailey and Celeste Holme.
  • 1 a.m. – Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), starring Judy Garland, Margaret O’Brien, Lucille Bremer and Mary Astor.
  • 3 a.m. – In the Good Old Summertime (1949), starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson.
  • 5 a.m. – The Shop Around the Corner (1940), starring Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart and Frank Morgan.

  • As much as I enjoy Nora Ephron's YOU'VE GOT MAIL, most of its strongest moments are directly out of IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME and THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER. These are two of the best romantic comedies ever produced. While they are based on the same story, they are magical in their differences and each provides a different glimpse into what makes romance work. Critics often complain about how much of modern cinema is adaptation, as if this means some sort of dilution of creativity. IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME and THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER are perfect demonstrations of how adaptation can result from inspiration.

    Friday, Dec. 25 – Holmes for the Holidays
  • 8 p.m. – The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), starring Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, Richard Greene and Wendy Barrie.
  • 9:30 p.m. – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939), starring Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce and Ida Lupino.
  • 11 p.m. – The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), starring Robert Stephens, Colin Blakely and Genevieve Page.
  • 1:15 a.m. – Sherlock Holmes’ Fatal Hour (1931), starring Arthur Wontner, Ian Fleming and Jane Welsh.
  • 2:30 a.m. – The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), starring Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Andre Morell and Maria Landi.
  • 4 a.m. – A Study in Terror (1965), starring John Neville, Donald Houston, Georgia Brown and Anthony Quayle.

    Anonymous said...
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    J.C. Loophole said...

    Young Sherlock Holmes is a Shelf Favorite also. I've seen it over the years too many times to count and regard it as one of the better "reinterpretations" of the Doyle characters. Holmes has been reinvented so many times on film, radio, television, and in books- it's almost a moot point to try and argue who is the best or closest to the original. I just try and enjoy the ones that stick closests to the Doyle characters and the relationship between Holmes and Watson.
    I'll probably go see the Downey version, because I like the cast involved- but also because I am sucker for anything Holmes. But we'll have to see how it turns out. I really like some of the more "oddball" Sherlock Holmes interpretations - one being Gene Wilder's Sherlock Holmes Smarter Younger Brother, and another being Murder by Decree with Christopher Plummer as Holmes. (For some reason tho', I've never been able to like The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.)